I love to history and culture. So when I travel I read up on the place I’m going. I want to know how the Swazi people fled to the mountains during Shaka Zulu’s reign of terror in the early 1800’s. I’m intrigued with their brutal, warrior culture, tempered by artful fairy tales, beautiful crafts, full-throated songs, and passionate dances that celebrate the values and passages of life. I find it fascinating that Swaziland has the oldest, continuous monarchy in the world, honoring King Mswati III in almost all official aspects of their lives. And I need to know how the AIDS epidemic has decimated a generation of Swazis, orphaning their children. These children are the ones we came to serve in Bulembu. And to embrace them, it was fitting and delightful for us to embrace their culture.
At the beginning of our trip some of us had time to visit to the Lesedi Cultural Center where we watched a demonstration of traditional tribal singing and dancing. I know it’s a tourist attraction, but I loved being welcomed with singing and dancing on my first day in Africa. I liked it so much that I have included a video clip of one of the dances. Enjoy!